Barry Zito Rocked as Giants Drop Series Opener in NLCS Rematch

Michael ManbertContributor IIJuly 26, 2011

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 16: Barry Zito #75 of the San Francisco Giants pitches during the third inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on July 16, 2011 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images

The story of last season's National League Championship Series between the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies was dominant pitching from each team.

The trend continued Tuesday night, to an extent, as Philadelphia starter Vance Worley ran his record to 7-1 with a complete game, three-hit performance against the defending world champions.

Despite giving up two runs (one of which came in the first as the Giants jumped out to an early lead), Worley went the distance in front of a sellout crowd at Citizens Bank Park, much to the delight of a Philadelphia crowd eager for revenge against a San Francisco team that ousted them from the 2010 playoffs and eventually went on to win the World Series.

A previously resurgent Barry Zito was given the start for the Giants as Tim Lincecum was scratched from the lineup with stomach flu.

However, there would be nothing positive about the opportunity for Zito, who looked to prove himself worthy of the fifth and final rotation spot Tuesday night upon the inevitable return of Jonathan Sanchez.

Staked to a one-run lead courtesy of a Pablo Sandoval sacrifice fly that drove in Andres Torres, who led the game off with a double, Zito entered the Phillies' half of the frame looking sharp as he sat down the first two Phillie hitters.

However, it was all downhill from there.

A two-out single by Chase Utley was followed by an RBI double by Ryan Howard to tie the game. With Howard on second, Zito would walk center-fielder Shane Victorino, then surrender a three-run blast to Raul Ibanez in a first inning that saw four runs put on the board by Philadelphia...a lead that they would never relinquish.

John Mayberry homered for the NL-East leading Phillies in the fourth and in what is considered to be the most exciting play in baseball, Chase Utley would hit an inside-the-park home run on a deep fly ball to center field that caromed off the angled wall and rolled away from Andres Torres, only to see Utley dive head-first into home plate on a bang-bang play.

Aaron Rowand and Ryan Howard would each hit solo homers for their respective clubs, and the Phillies took the series opener in resounding fashion, 7-2.

The Giants and Phillies resume their NLCS rematch series Wednesday evening at 4:05 PT, as Tim Lincecum is scheduled to take the hill against Cole Hamels in what looks to be a pitcher's duel.

Michael Manbert is a reporter for